Professor Zoe Davies

Professor of Biodiversity Conservation,
Co-leader of the Positive Environmental Futures Signature Research Theme
+44 (0)1227 823051
Professor Zoe Davies


Professor Zoe Davies gained a BSc in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, before studying for her PhD at the University of Leeds. After gaining her doctorate, she worked as a systematic reviewer at the Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation (CEBC) in Birmingham, before joining the Biodiversity and Macroecology Group (BIOME) at the University of Sheffield as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2010, she was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Kent and is now Professor of Biodiversity Conservation. 

Professor Zoe Davies is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. She is incredibly proud to be part of DICE and was delighted when it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2019.

Research interests

Professor Zoe Davies has diverse research interests, crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries but focusing on the use of empirical data to address questions of importance to conservation management and policy. They can be summarised into the following key themes:

Conservation practice and policy

  • Conservation planning, implementation and protected area development
  • Assessing the effectiveness of conservation interventions, policies and initiatives
  • Relationships between biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem goods/services

Biodiversityhuman wellbeing relationships

  • Human wellbeing benefits derived from experiencing biodiversity
  • People’s attitudes, perceptions and values associated with biodiversity

Impacts of environmental change

  • Species and assemblage responses to land-use change, habitat loss/fragmentation, climate change and urbanisation
  • Designing and managing urban areas for biodiversity and people
  • Rewilding  


  • WCON5450: Conservation Policy and Practice
  • DICE1001: Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Conservation  


Current PhD students:

  • Will Hayes: Predicting and navigating future discord between gold mining and other livelihoods in Guyana's rainforest (co-supervisor)
  • Michaela Lo: Forecasting the impacts of land-use change on human well-being in central Indonesia (primary supervisor)
  • Sam Aizlewood: How and where should we expand woodlands to benefit people and biodiversity? (primary supervisor)  
  • Sean Glynn: After the gold rush: vertebrate communities in abandoned gold mines and implications for restoration (co-supervisor)  
  • Nuwanthika Dharmaratne: Understanding the role of different types of conservation area in meeting global biodiversity protection targets (co-supervisor)



  • Claire Stewart: Understanding approaches for conserving biodiversity and rewilding on privately-owned land (co-supervisor)
  • Gwili Gibbon: Understanding spatial priorities for conservation and restoration in Kenya (co-supervisor)  
  • Jessica Fisher: The benefits of biodiversity: human–wildlife interactions in urban Guyana (primary supervisor)
  • Rachel Sykes: Understanding the development and characteristics of conservation area networks (co-supervisor)
  • Nicolas Deere: Informing tropical mammal conservation in human-modified landscapes using remote technologies and hierarchical modelling (co-supervisor)
  • Simon Mitchell: Novel approaches to inform tropical bird conservation in human-modified landscapes (co-supervisor)
  • Aidan Mackay: Modelling the relationship between native amphibian species and the non-native marsh frog (co-supervisor) 
  • Tristan Pett: Biodiversity and human well-being: the value of human-nature interactions for people and conservation (primary supervisor)
  • Benjamin Lee: The urban ecology of bats in Singapore: understanding the human-wildlife interface (co-supervisor)
  • Janna Steadman: Understanding "partnerships for conservation gain": how do government agencies, non-governmental organisations, private landowners and the corporate sector co-operate to deliver effective natural resource management? (primary supervisor) 
  • Nicolás Gálvez: The nine lives of a threatened felid in a human-dominated landscape: assessing population decline drivers of the guiña (Leopardus guigna) (primary supervisor) 
  • Jake Bicknell: Contemporary conservation in Guyana: the role of Reduced-Impact Logging and protected areas in a sustainable future (primary supervisor)
  • Charlie Gardner: Reconciling conservation and development in Madagascar's rapidly-expanding protected area system (primary supervisor)

  MSc by Research  

  • Ellie Rankin: Streetscape biodiversity and psychological wellbeing: exploring the mediating role of air and noise pollution (primary supervisor)
  • Abigail Wills: Valuing the mangroves of northern Madagascar: an interdisciplinary perspective (primary supervisor)
  • Janna Steadman: Understanding the nature and extent of relationships between conservation NGOs and the corporate sector (primary supervisor)  


  • Senior Associate Editor for Conservation Letters
  • British Trust for Ornithology Chair of the Board of Trustees  
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Conservation Committee member  
  • Natural England Science Advisory Committee member
  • Natural England Social Sciences Expert Panel member
  • British Ecological Society member  
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